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The Situation Room

Bin Laden Relative in U.S. Custody; North Korea Tests Weapon More Dangerous to the U.S.; Vote on New Pope to Begin Tuesday; Bin Laden Son-In-Law Pleads Not Guilty; Why Isn't Bin Laden Son-In-Law Going to Gitmo?; Jesse Jackson at Chavez Funeral; Report: Fake Bomb Bypasses TSA; Civil War Sailors Buried 150 Years Later; Justin Bieber's Bad Week

Aired March 08, 2013 - 16:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: We're following up on all the good economic news, most stock prices hitting new highs, Wall Street cheering the lowest unemployment rate of the Obama's presidency.

Osama bin Laden's son-in-law faces charges in a New York City courtroom near Ground Zero. Critics say there's a better way to bring him to justice.

And Justin Bieber's on-stage health scare, a bad ending to the teen pop star's bad week. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Wall Street just closed another record-setting day , with the Dow Jones industrials hitting a new all-time high, this after the release of the February jobs numbers that were much better than so many of the analysts expected. America's unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent. That's the lowest level since December 2008, the month before President Obama took office.

The U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs last month. That's almost double the new hires in January.

CNN's Alison Kosik is over at the New York Stock Exchange.

The markets were pretty happy about these latest numbers, Alison.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The markets certainly are happy about it.

The Dow, Wolf, continues to make history. The strong jobs report fueling the Dow to a fresh record high. Today's close, it marks the fourth straight all-time high this week. These bulls, they just keep on running. Look at the Dow. It's now 200 points above the initial high we were watching for these weeks before. The mood here has definitely changed as the week has gone on.

Many more bears came out at the beginning of the week than at the end of the week. They are still harder to find, those bears, but they are still out there. One trader telling me this week he expects stocks to pull back anywhere between 10 percent to 15 percent by the summer. But, yes, there's plenty of time for that to happen. At least for now, the path of least resistance is upward. And it was that pretty strong jobs report that kept the rally going. You look at how the report broke down. Professional and business services, that sector led the way with 73,000 new jobs. Health, education and leisure also made strong gains as well in February. Look at construction; construction added 48,000 jobs and those gains in construction are especially notable because construction had accounted for a huge chunk of job losses during the recession.

Now it looks like construction is kind of the comeback kid. That's good news, especially with one analyst saying as long as the housing market continues to recover, it should lead to a heavier labor market -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Good way to end the week on Wall Street and in terms of jobs. Think about it; 236,000 people got a job last month. They are very, very happy that they are working right now.

Alison, thanks very much.

Now to the White House and the reaction to these latest jobs numbers. Will it help the president much in the days and weeks ahead?

Our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, is joining us from the White House right now.

What's going on over there, Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, after those positive job numbers came out, Wolf, officials here at the White House certainly have a spring in their step, but they are well aware that there are plenty of obstacles that still exist that might trip up this recovery.


ACOSTA (voice-over): After the latest jobs report found the nation's unemployment rate had dipped to levels not seen before President Obama took office, the White House wanted to know one thing. Where were all of the questions about the good news?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I suspect if the jobs news had been different, it would taken less than four people to ask me about them. But that's the nature of our work, I think, here.

ACOSTA: But the Obama administration warns, do not get too excited. This report does not account for the automatic budget cuts that just took effect.

EARNEST: Democrats and Republicans agree that the sequester is going to have a negative impact on job creation.

ACOSTA: Which makes President Obama's latest outreach to Republicans all the more important, a charm offensive that just so happened to coincide with a secret dinner the first couple had with Bill and Hillary Clinton a week ago. The Clintons have their own history of brinksmanship in the '90s. (on camera): Did former President Clinton mention that as his advice to the current president, that perhaps an outreach might be a good thing?

EARNEST: Well, I can confirm the dinner for you. They enjoyed the meal and they enjoyed the conversation. In terms of the president's bipartisan outreach to rank-and-file members of Congress, that's actually something that started before that dinner.

ACOSTA: But more budget drama could be on the horizon. Republican Senator Marco Rubio told a conservative radio host he may not sign on to the latest temporary spending bill aimed at keeping the government running.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: About a year-and-a-half ago I voted for the first continuing resolution. And then I announced this is the continuing resolution, the last stopgap measure that I'm going to vote for. I will vote from here on, on something serious. And so far, we haven't seen that.

ACOSTA: Asked whether that means Rubio might filibuster the bill, a spokesman told CNN, "We're reviewing our legislative options."

Back at the White House, where officials say the automatic cuts are forcing them to cancel all public tours starting this weekend, visitors are losing their patience.

TERESA KABAT, WHITE HOUSE VISITOR: I just think it's not fair, because it's supposed to be government for the people. And by taking away the tours, they are not letting them see the government.

ACOSTA: Besides the visitors tour, the White House will only offer vague details about where it is cutting its own budget.

EARNEST: Pay cuts, furloughs, and other things. I'm sorry?

QUESTION: The West Wing as well?

EARNEST: The West Wing as well.


ACOSTA: The White House is conducting some of its business these days in secret, whether it's holding meetings on subjects ranging from Israel to energy policy, and these are meetings that the officials here at the White House won't talk about until well after they are happening here.

And it is just another indication that this Obama administration in the second term is evolving, but it's doing so cautiously and quietly -- Wolf.

BLITZER: As far as those tours, visitor tours at the White House, no change yet at least as far as the White House is concerned?

ACOSTA: That's right. Not yet. They stop tomorrow, Wolf. BLITZER: Jim Acosta is over at the White House. Thanks very much.

In a New York City courtroom today, a not guilty plea from Osama been Laden's son in law, who made ominous threats on behalf of al Qaeda in the days after 9/11. Listen to this.


SULEIMAN ABU GHAITH, AL QAEDA (through translator): We advise them not to fly in planes or live in high towers. The storm of planes will not stop. There are us thousands of young Muslims who desire martyrdom in the path of Allah.


BLITZER: Our national correspondent, Susan Candiotti, is in New York. She was there at the event today.

So what's the reaction? A the lot of people out there criticizing the Obama administration for bringing him to New York, as opposed to Guantanamo Bay.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it hasn't stopped in the least.

You know, Wolf, all of those video messages spewing hatred and other messages against Americans, dire warnings to Americans after 9/11, well, that's hard to forget and in fact those video messages are what have brought Suleiman Abu Ghaith to America himself, inside a courtroom.


CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Suleiman Abu Ghaith entered the courtroom looking and acting much differently than the al Qaeda spokesman so often seen next to his father-in-law, Osama bin Laden.

In New York federal court, he looked older, balding, his dark beard now gray. Gone was the fiery rhetoric. He quietly said yes when asked whether he understood the charges and left it to his lawyer to enter his plea, not guilty.

But behind the scenes, Abu Ghaith is talking to investigators, prosecutors dropping a bombshell, revealing he made a 22-page statement after his arrest, possibly powerful evidence.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Prosecutors always want statements from a defendant, so the fact that he gave such an extensive one has the potential to be extremely incriminating at a trial.

CANDIOTTI: What did he tell investigators? They aren't saying. He was arrested overseas February 28 and flown to the U.S. from Jordan March 1, a full week before his arraignment. Abu Ghaith has mostly been under house arrest since 2002 and experts as you know likely not actively involved in al Qaeda operations. Bin Laden himself bragged on tape the 9/11 plans were so secretive, Abu Ghaith didn't even know about them.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: He points to Abu Ghaith, his spokesman, and says, we didn't clue him in. So, surely a defense lawyer will be using that in the future case.

CANDIOTTI: Despite ongoing criticism from Republicans that Abu Ghaith should be treated as an enemy combatant and tried before a military tribunal in Guantanamo, the administration stands by its decision.

EARNEST: This is somebody who is going to be held accountable for his crimes and that will be done in accordance with the laws and values of this country.

CANDIOTTI: Some 9/11 families say they are glad someone so prominent in al Qaeda is being prosecuted.

JIM RICHES, FORMER FDNY DEPUTY CHIEF: Let's get these trials in going in New York City. All the people that were affected that day can go see the trials, and that's where they should be, in New York City.


CANDIOTTI: And that's where Abu Ghaith's trial is, about a mile away from Ground Zero, where Jim Riches' son and so many others lost their lives -- Wolf.

BLITZER: A major, major development in New York right now. This is going to go on for months and months and months, the legal proceedings. Thanks very much, Susan, for that report.

And we're not done with this story, by any means. Should bin Laden's son-in-law have been sent to the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, instead of New York City? We will be discussing that in a few minutes.

Also ahead, North Korea's Kim Jong-un firing up his own troops. Does he have a new way to carry out his threats against the United States?


BLITZER: A really bizarre scene from North Korean TV, troops acting crazed during a visit by their new young leader Kim Jong-un, this coming at the end of a week of new threats from the communist regime.

We're learning more about North Korea's defiance. Also, we're learning more about its arsenal of weapons.

Let's bring in our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.

What are you learning, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we have seen this ominous rhetoric from North Korea before. The question now, what happens if this rhetoric turns into an outright military threat? (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STARR (voice-over): Almost hysterical North Korean troops greeted their leader, Kim Jong-un, during his made-for-TV inspection tour of military border facilities. Kim wants the world to see this as he has dramatically stepped up his dangerous rhetoric.

He's even threatening a nuclear attack on the U.S., as he faces tough U.N. sanctions for his recent nuclear test. The Obama administration isn't backing down.

VICTORIA NULAND, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: We're also going to continue to increase the pressure if they don't make the right choice.

STARR: On his way to Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made clear how closely the U.S. is watching.

CHUCK HAGEL, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: The United States of America and our allies are prepared to deal with any threat.

STARR: CNN has learned the U.S. has recently stepped up surveillance using aircraft, radars, and satellites already nearby. Military officials say so far there are no signs of unusual military moves by the North.

But there is a disturbing new weapons program, the KN-08. U.S. officials say this missile, shown in a North Korea military parade last year, is now undergoing engine testing. It's a three-stage ballistic missile with a potential 3,000-mile range. That's not as far as the rocket North Korea recently launched, which could hit Alaska or Hawaii. But what makes this so dangerous to the U.S., the North Koreans can drive the KN-08 around on a truck launcher.

JOHN PIKE, GLOBAL SECURITY: They would have a bunch of these in an underground bunker, in a garage, and possibly under the cover of darkness, they would all leave the garage and start driving around at random and within a few hours you could really have a hard time figuring out where they had gone off to.


STARR: Now, the U.S. believes that the recent satellite launch in North Korea actually helped to test some of the KN-08 components and at that very launch pad, Wolf, there are now new signs, according to classified U.S. imagery of activity, more vehicles, personnel and electronic equipment. The North Koreans are possibly getting ready for yet another missile test -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Any indication, Barbara, that those nearly 30,000 U.S. troops along the DMZ, the demilitarized zone, separating North and South Korea, their status, their security status has been elevated as a result of this enormous tension right now on the Korean peninsula?

STARR: Well, what a senior defense official tells us is the troops are certainly aware of it, have basically been told heightened awareness, heightened watchfulness, but they are always at a very high state of readiness to act, because the belief consistently is if a provocation were to come, it would come very quickly, Wolf.

BLITZER: It would come very quickly. Nearly a million North Korean troops just north of the DMZ, nearly a million South Korean troops just south of the DMZ, 30,000 American soldiers in effect in between -- a very, very tense situation right now. More on the story coming up later.

Barbara, thank you.

Chuck Hagel took his first overseas trip today as the United States secretary of defense.

Lisa Sylvester is here. She's monitoring that and some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Lisa, it was a surprise trip, no advance announcement?


Chuck Hagel, he is actually in Afghanistan. The Vietnam veteran is thanking troops there for their service. He's also meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Hagel says he wants to better understand what's going on in America's longest war. It's now in its 11th year. Hagel also says the U.S. will remain committed to Afghanistan as American troops are pulled out.

And a March blizzard has dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of New England. It's also brought high wind and 23-foot waves that tore this house -- the one you see right there -- right off of its foundation on Massachusetts' Plum Island.

From New England to the New York, the snow is expected to turn to rain as temperatures continue to rise throughout the day before finally clearing out by tomorrow.

And Gabrielle Giffords is this year's recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. President Kennedy's daughter Caroline Kennedy will present the award to the former Arizona congresswoman on May 5th. Kennedy says Giffords has inspired the world with her bravery and with her dedication to making change through the political process. Giffords, of course, was shot in the head in January of 2011, and since then she has called for tighter gun control laws.

And yes, there are wedding bells ringing for Michael Jordan and his fiance model Yvette Prieto. The NBA legend just turned 50 and he has applied for a marriage license in West Palm Beach, Florida. TMZ reports the wedding date is April 27th. This will be his second marriage. Jordan, he led the Chicago Bulls to six championships and is now the majority owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats.

Yes, they've been together quite a while. I don't think that's a surprise that they're getting married. That's 50 years old for the NBA legend.

BLITZER: Congratulations to both of them.

SYLVESTER: Yes, congratulations to both of them, right, Wolf?

BLITZER: Lisa, thank you.

We now know when the Catholic cardinals will gather to pick the next pope. But what's the Vatican doing to make sure the votes stay secret. We're going live to Rome when we come back.


BLITZER: At the Vatican now, the date is set, Catholic cardinals will begin their secret election to choose a new pope on Tuesday. Preparations are underway in the Sistine Chapel, where the voting will take place under the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo.

Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is in Rome. He's joining us now. So, Ben, what is the Vatican doing to prepare for this historic conclave?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in addition, Wolf, to sort of getting the seats ready and tables set out in the Sistine Chapel, they've implemented or they will be implementing a series of fairly sophisticated electronic countermeasures to make sure that nobody: (a), can listen to what's going on inside the Sistine Chapel and Santa Marta Residence where the cardinals will be staying and to make sure just in case some of those cardinals brought in their BlackBerrys and cell phones, they won't be able to communicate with the outside world.

So, there's going to be these electronic jamming devices and in the residence they'll be staying in, the Santa Marta residents. They won't have any access to landlines, newspapers, the radio, television, Internet. So they will effectively be completely closed off from the world during the course of the conclave -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Word, Ben, what the cardinals are going to be doing before the conclave?

WEDEMAN: Well, one interesting thing they'll be doing is Sunday, some of them will be involved in a soccer match here in Rome. That's a tradition that's been going on. In addition to that, there will be more meetings tomorrow morning of the general congregation. On Sunday, the various cardinals will be attending mass, holding mass in their titular churches around Rome.

So it's going to be a busy weekend and a busy start of the week before the conclave actually begins on Tuesday afternoon -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Ben Wedeman on the scene for us. We're going to be checking with you. You're going to be busy over these next several days. Thank you.

A massive state funeral for the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez -- coming up, we're live from Caracas with an inside look from someone who not only attended but also spoke there. The Reverend Jesse Jackson in Caracas. Stand by for that.

Plus, how's the case against Osama bin Laden's son-in-law. Our own Jeffrey Toobin has an answer that may surprise you.


BLITZER: An undercover agent walks through airport security with a bomb in his pants. Did the TSA pass the test? We have the answer. That's coming up.


BLITZER: When Osama bin Laden's son-in-law appeared in a New York City courtroom today, he was only blocks away from the site of the 9/11 terror attacks. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith pleaded not guilty to the charges that he conspired to kill Americans. He was an al Qaeda official spokesman on and after 9/11.

Some Republicans are questioning the Obama administration's decision to try him in a civilian court in New York.

Joining us now, our CNN national security analysts Peter Bergen and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

First of all, Jeff, what do we know about Sulaiman Abu Ghaith?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the indictment against him is actually very spare. He's described as the spokesman and one of the things that the government is going to have to do as this case proceeds to trial is show that he actually advanced a conspiracy to kill Americans, didn't just advocate, didn't just give rhetorical support.

The current charges against him are pretty minimal on that score, although the government certainly will have many months to fill out the case against him.

BLITZER: Peter, he was the one who appeared on all those videos in September of 2001, in October 2001, warning the West, warning Muslims -- stay away from the United States, stay away from those high rise buildings, don't get on planes, we're coming after you. At that time, he was selected, I assume by bin Laden, to be the spokesman?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. I mean, he married Bin Laden's daughter. I second what Jeff said. I mean, the indictment against this guy is incredibly thin and I don't think that's surprising because having, you know, followed him on and off over the last decade and so, this was a guy who popped up in the propaganda videotapes, Wolf, and then basically disappeared.

He was living under house arrest in Iran basically on ice not able to do anything. He was not clued in to the 9/11 attacks before they happened, according to an al Qaeda videotape before that was discovered after the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan. He's sort of a nonentity.

You know, I think one of the reasons he's gone to New York is conspiracy is not necessarily a war crime, the type that would be tried in Guantanamo, and courts in New York have 100 percent conviction rates.

So on these kinds of terrorism charges, whereas a trial in Guantanamo is a very uncertain, convictions overturned, maybe 1 percent of the people there have been successfully convicted.

BLITZER: On that legal issue, Jeffrey, listen to Senator Lindsey Graham. He himself is an attorney. He's very much opposed to the decision to send him to New York. He thought this was an enemy combatant who belonged in Guantanamo Bay before a military tribunal. Listen to Senator Graham.


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: To the administration, why did you not send this person to Guantanamo Bay to be held as an enemy combatant for intelligence-gathering purposes? I have been firm against torture, but I do believe that Guantanamo Bay is a secure military facility that provides this country a great asset and we've received a lot of information from Guantanamo Bay detainees.


BLITZER: As you remember, the uproar a few years ago when they were thinking of sending Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for Guantanamo Bay to be tried before a civil court in New York. That eventually was reversed. What do you think about the pros and cons legally speaking either sending him to Guantanamo Bay or New York?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it is true that there is a major difference between the two in terms of interrogation. In a criminal court where he is now, he will receive a lawyer who will undoubted he will say, stop talking to prosecutors. Don't say anything.

In Guantanamo, there would be more flexibility to interrogate him. But the difference between the two is that the federal government has been very successful in getting convictions and life sentences in these cases brought in Manhattan and Guantanamo has been a legal morass.

So if you want to see this guy locked up securely for life, New York is probably a better bet than Cuba.

BLITZER: The other argument against sending him to New York, Jeffrey, and you could give us some perspective on this. Peter, the notion that once there's a trial, let's say he pleads not guilty, there's going to be a long trial. He can call witnesses, his attorneys will call witnesses. This could become a propaganda bonanza for al Qaeda against the United States? What do you make of that argument?

BERGEN: Well, a lot of people have been put on trial in New York even before 9/11 and that was never the case, Wolf. I mean, I think this is a red herring that is touted out, fairly routinely and it's never been the case that somehow this turns into a propaganda coo for al Qaeda and when they get put into Florence, Colorado, they are going to be turned into martyrs. None of that ever happens. BLITZER: Peter Bergen and Jeffrey Toobin, two very, very smart guys. At the top of the next hour, the former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will join us. We'll talk about whether it's a good idea to try this case in his hometown.

An undercover TSA inspector hides a fake bomb on his body. Coming up, you're going to find out if he got it past TSA screeners at a major airport with a metal detector and a pat-down.


BLITZER: Venezuela is saying farewell to one president. It's about to usher in another one. Leaders of Cuba, a dozen more nations were at the emotional state funeral for Hugo Chavez. We got our own inside look at Chavez's funeral from the Reverend Jesse Jackson, the founder and president of the Rainbow Push Coalition. He delivered a prayer at the ceremony.

And the Reverend Jesse Jackson is joining us live from Caracas. He attended Hugo Chavez's memorial service today there in Caracas. I know that you were one of the speakers, Reverend Jackson. In a nutshell, what was your message?

REVEREND JESSE JACKSON, PRESIDENT, RAINBOW PUSH COALITION: One that the U.S. and Venezuela must find common ground again. I hope President Obama and Mr. Mcaduro will find some way to communicate real early. The Venezuelans are in our hemisphere. Venezuela, Mexico, and Brazil, more oil reserves than the Middle East. Middle East is four weeks away. This is four days away and plus we need them as our ally in the drug trafficking war.

BLITZER: What do you say to all those Venezuelans not only in the opposition, but those that have fled the country and a lot of other people around the world who considered Hugo Chavez a vial dictator?

JACKSON: Well, you know, democracy is -- our first 15 presidents owned people. They owned slaves. There's a speech given by what I think will be the new leader, at least for a while, and having elections on time, open, free, fair elections. It's growing throughout the hemisphere and we encourage it by direct contact. We're not thinking about we're losing more lives in drug trafficking than al Qaeda.

BLITZER: I just want to be precise and want to make sure that I'm not hearing you correctly. Are you really comparing Hugo Chavez to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison? That's what I was hearing, but I want you to explain.

JACKSON: Well, democracy has evolved. My point is that our first 15 presidents owned slaves and called it democracy for 204 years. We've come a mighty long way. The democracy in South Africa is just, what, 25 years old or thereabouts. I was just there eight years ago, white people couldn't vote, couldn't vote on campuses, democracy has evolved and if we're engaged, we can help it evolve in the right direction.

BLITZER: What about some of the others who attended? Were you comfortable that Ahmadinejad, for example, of Iran was there? I know Bashar Al Assad of Syria was not there. I know he would have liked to have been there. Raul Castro. How does that make you feel?

JACKSON: Well, it seems to me that when we go on the offensive, we make things happen. I remember getting Americans freed, I went to Syria with a delegation and President Reagan said, you shouldn't go, you don't what you're doing? You might jeopardize a soldier's life.

President Reagan said, if you get him, bring him back to the White House. We brought him back to the White House. President Reagan said to me, reverend, what can we do for you? I said, call Assad and say thank you. He did so. They never stopped talking, 15 layers of diplomatic gloobly gloop.

BLITZER: When you meet with officials from the Obama White House, what will be your main message to them when you get back home?

JACKSON: The cement is wet. There's reformation taking place here. Chavez is gone. There will be an election fairly soon. It will probably be transparent, an open election pretty soon.

In the meantime, the democracy that is evolving, you also have the tremendous trade opportunities for this market. I think about the time that -- the amount of money that we spent in the Middle East, oil, security, more oil in the hemisphere four weeks away as opposed to four days away.

The drug trafficking, if you get Venezuela and Colombia in the good orbit and Mexico, you save many American lives.

BLITZER: Reverend Jackson, safe travels back home. Thanks very much for joining us.

JACKSON: Thank you, sir.

BLITZER: Up next, an undercover TSA inspector hiding a fake bomb down his pants at a major U.S. airport. What happened? You're going to find out when we come back.


BLITZER: There are now reports of an alarming security breach at Newark Liberty International Airport. An undercover agent reportedly got passed TSA screeners with a fake bomb stuffed inside his clothes. Mary Snow is joining us now. She has the details. Mary, what happened?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you know, as a result of this report, New York Congressman Peter King is now demanding a top to bottom security review of all TSA operations at Newark Airport.

King is the former chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. He wrote to the TSA administrator today after a reported security lapse on February 25th.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SNOW (voice-over): The test at Newark Airport was to see if a fake improvised explosive device would get past screeners. According to the "New York Post," it did. An undercover TSA inspector with a mock IED in his pants went undetected twice including during a pat down.

The TSA wouldn't confirm the report, but said in a statement, "Due to the security sensitive nature of the tests, TSA does not publicly share details about how they are conducted, what specifically is tested, or the outcomes."

The TSA says it regularly conducts covert testing and this is what it looks like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slip the inert detonator in.

SNOW: CNN went along with undercover TSA inspectors called "Red Teams" in 2008. The inspector had a fake IED on him when he went through security at Tampa International Airport. A screener failed to detect the device and the undercover inspector then instructed him on what he did wrong.

Just how many screeners fail to detect devices in these drills is unclear, but one aviation security analyst says some failures are to be expected.

RAFI RON, NEW AGE SECURITY SOLUTIONS: There are a lot of very important lesson to be learned in order to improve the program and to increase the level of alert and the professionalism of the people that implement it.

SNOW: Just this week, the head of the TSA talked about IEDs when lifting the carry on ban on items like pocket knives.

JOHN PISTOLE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: The greatest risk is non-metallic IEDs, whether it's an exclusive, electronic initiator or a chemical initiator, whatever that may be, that's what I want our security officers to focus on.

SNOW: While the TSA wouldn't specifically address Newark Airport, the airport has had problems in recent years. There was a man who became known a Romeo who slipped past security to greet a woman forcing a terminal to shut down for hours.

Last year, roughly two dozen baggage and traveller screener were fired for security lapses and thefts. Former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley says it's unclear why Newark continues to make headlines.

KIP HAWLEY, FORMER TSA ADMINISTRATOR (via telephone): I don't understand why it should be. They have had a lot of problems at Newark, which is probably why they are testing it.


SNOW: Now former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley who you just heard there said while breaches make headlines the way he sees it. The TSA is willing to take some bad publicity to keep its eye on the real threat in these drills that they can help stop an attack -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's a tough and very, very important job for these agents out there and we wish them obviously the best. Thanks very much for that report.

A bizarre rift within the Republican Party, Senator John McCain calling some of his Republican colleagues -- and I'm quoting now, wacko birds. So how bad is it? I'll ask the former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He is coming up in our next hour.

But first, a really bad week for Justin Bieber ends with a confrontation and a hospital stay.


BLITZER: In just a few minutes, we're all going to be experiencing an extraordinary moment in the history of the United States military. The remains of two sailors found in the wreckage of a civil war ship being laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery 150 years later. Our Barbara Starr has the details of how the sailors were identified.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shoes worn by a sailor 150 years ago perhaps in the final moments of his life on board the USS Monitor, a renowned civil war battleship.

(on camera): This is extraordinary. We are looking -- mismatched, but a pair of shoes that one of the sailors wore.

DAVID KROP, MARINER'S MUSEUM: He had a different shoe on his left foot than he did on his right. It's hard to explain why that is. One of the possible options is that as these guys were leaving the ship the night of the sinking, it was chaotic, it was dark.

STARR (voice-over): The shoes just one clue in a detective story that started 240 feet below the surface of the sea. Who were the two men whose skeletons were found in the ship's turret in 2002? The Navy is about to bury them at Arlington National Cemetery, not knowing the answer.

(on camera): This is the 120-ton turret of the USS Monitor. It's sitting in this water preservation tank right now. This is the precise spot where they found the remains of the two Navy sailors.

(voice-over): More clues -- buttons from a uniform, a gold ring, a comb and some coins. The Monitor itself made history as the first ironclad ship. Caught in a storm on December 30, 1862 of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, it flipped over and sank. Sixteen sailors were lost. Captain Bobbie Scholley led Navy dives to the wreckage.

CAPT. BOBBIE SCHOLLEY (RETIRED), NAVY DIVE TEAM COMMANDER: We needed to take all the appropriate steps necessary to recover those sailors with all the honors and dignities.

STARR: A military lab analyzed the bones. DNA samples were taken, facial reconstructions were made. African-American sailors and officers were eliminated. The remains were Caucasian, the buttons not from officers' coats.

The list is now down to five or six men, two possibilities -- Robert Williams and William Brian. Back at the water's edge in Virginia where the Monitor battled the confederacy, the official who oversees the ship's legacy says it's more than just history.

DAVID ALBERG, NOAA: Whether it was 150 years ago or two weeks ago in Afghanistan the nation's commitment to bringing the fallen home, laying them to rest and returning them to the family stays as strong today as it ever was.


BLITZER: That report from our Barbara Starr. You're looking at live pictures now from Arlington National Cemetery here in Washington. Once the burial ceremony begins, we're going to go there and show to it to you. Stand by for that.

Other news, including a scare on stage for pop superstar Justin Bieber, he got short of breath during a concert in London last night. The 19-year-old's health and his image may be suffering after years of a wildly popular teen heart throb. Erin McLaughlin has more from London.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Boos for Justin Bieber. It's been a tough week for the teenage pop star. Appearing in London for a series of sold-out shows, he was nearly two hours late to the stage on Monday. His fans, better known as Beliebers and their parents were not happy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted to get home and sleep because I had school tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm totally and utterly disgusted. We are all fans and now we hate him.

MCLAUGHLIN: The singer took to Twitter saying that he was only 40 minutes late and said, quote, "There's no excuse for that and I apologize for anyone we upset." Then, a real show-stopper during Thursday's concert after Bieber appeared whoozie.

A representative for the singer says Bieber went backstage with the EMTs and a doctor after getting very light of breath. To the delight of the fans, Bieber finished the show.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, I can't breathe. I can't breathe. Everyone was cheering him on. Everyone wanted him to come back on stage.

MCLAUGHLIN: After the concert, the singer was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure and released early Friday. Later, he thanked his fans online, tweeting, getting better, thanks for everyone pulling me through tonight. Figuring out what happened. Thanks for the love.

Then, Friday morning, a photo flap as Bieber was caught on video losing his temper with the paparazzi while rushing to a waiting SUV, the singer apparently shoves a photographer.

The photographer retaliates with a verbal assault and Bieber versed out of the van. He had to be restrained by his own security team and then got back in the vehicle and drove away. Bieber, who turned 19 just a week ago, is expected to go ahead with this evening's show.


BLITZER: That report from CNN's Erin McLaughlin on the scene in London. We certainly hope that Justin Bieber is OK. He's been a remarkable, remarkable performer. He's got many years of performing ahead of him.

And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, happening now, Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law turning up in a New York City courtroom now far from 9/11's ground zero. But why New York instead of Guantanamo Bay, a controversy is already raging. I'll speak to the former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He's got strong views.

A surge in hiring and the jobless rate dipping to its lowest level in four years, will that help President Obama as he deals with Republicans on the deficit.

And John McCain calls Senator Rand Paul and other Tea Party Republicans and I'm quoting him now, "wacko birds." Will it hurt the GOP? I'll ask Newt Gingrich.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.